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Former Police Chief Thinks SPL Should Avoid Old Firm Title Decider

Former Police Chief Thinks SPL Should Avoid Old Firm Title Decider
Eoin Lyons
By Eoin Lyons
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Celtic only need one more win to clinch the SPL title and with the Bhoys still to play Rangers and the post-split fixture's yet to be decided, former chairman of the Scottish Police Federation has called for the decision makers not to make the Old Firm game a title decider.

Les Gray, who was speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound argued that the SPL shouldn't supercharge what is already a highly volatile occasion:

The last few games have been brilliant to watch, a great spectacle and people have behaved themselves so why do we want to endanger that?

We all know that these games are supercharged and to make it the deciding game, whether it was 1999 or 1949, the circumstances haven't changed and the police will always have the last say and for good reason. Why take the risk of taking backwards steps when it can be avoided? The game's going to happen, why do you want to supercharge it?

Gray is referring to Rangers' title triumph in 1999, when the Gers won the league against Celtic in Celtic Park. The game was marred by crowd trouble, and saw referee Hugh Dallas injured by a missile thrown on the pitch.


Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers recently bemoaned the fact that Scottish football tends to avoid Old Firm title deciders:

In probably any other country in the world, they would look to play the game and showcase your football and country on telly - whether it was Real Madrid v Barcelona, Manchester United v Manchester City or AC Milan v Inter. But, for some reason, we can't do that here which is a sad indictment of the world that it is here at times.

Former Scotland manager Gordon Strachan also weighed in on the issue imploring the SPL to take their cue from the Scottish police, citing the  recent crowd trouble at Liverpool's Champions League tie Man City last week as something the league should avoid.

SPL League Chief Executive Neil Doncaster has said that arranging the post-split fixtures is 'a juggling act' as the league tries to appease its broadcast partners as well as Police Scotland but stated that details of the post-split fixture schedule are to be announced shortly.



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